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What is a gaming VPN (GPN) and do I need one?

Not all network connections are equal. Learn about the role gaming VPNs (GPNs) play and the effect they have on in-game performance.

Gaming VPN server connection

What is a GPN AKA a 'VPN for gaming'?

VPNs for gaming, also known as GPNs, prioritize speed between your router and the gaming servers you access during online gaming sessions. So, how can they enhance your experience? They help improve responsiveness by reducing latency, jitter, spikes and packet loss. Think of them as a traffic cop routing you along the fastest route to your destination. Learn how to choose the best VPN for gaming below.

Multiplayer gaming, depicting a VPN supporting P2P connection

What’s the difference between a GPN and VPN?

Differences in traffic and encryption:

  • A VPN encrypts all Internet traffic in and out of your machine, to the VPN server, and then to the target server or computer. In the process, VPNs usually tunnel all Internet traffic on your PC.

  • On the other hand, the GPN does not encrypt or modify traffic. It relays traffic to the target server “as is” and it tunnels only selected real-time game communications.

Differences in performance:

  • The performance of VPN servers can vary wildly depending on configuration and usage distribution. For example, if a bunch of people all at once decide to use a VPN server to download a game or stream a show, this is going to impact the VPN performance. For this reason, VPN services are typically not reliable enough for latency-sensitive real-time communications, such as online gaming.

  • Meanwhile, the GPN’s narrow focus on in-game connection traffic helps ensure better network connection performance and prevents servers from getting overloaded by unrelated traffic, such as streaming a show or downloading a game or patch.

How to choose a better performance solution for gaming

There are numerous gaming performance options to choose from, however, there are some specific things to look for when choosing a solution:

  • Connection optimization: Select a service that can reduce lag, ping spikes and jitter – your worst enemies in online gaming.

  • Intelligent routing: technology that automatically finds the fastest route to your gaming server.

  • Maximum speed: Look for a solution with speeds compatible to the speed of your ISP and with high-bandwidth. This will help maximize your connection.

  • High compatibility: If you’re playing on multiple devices you’ll want to pick an option that is compatible with all the platforms and devices you use.

  • Game support: Make sure that your performance solution or GPN supports the latest game titles.

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